Alan Arkin, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing

For her first feature since 1998’s ”Clockwatchers,” writer-director Jill Sprecher focuses on fate and happiness in the intersecting lives of five New Yorkers. A college professor (Turturro) resolves to change his staid existence. A housewife (Irving) confronts her husband’s infidelity. A lawyer (McConaughey) witnesses his charmed life spinning out of control after an irreversible mishap. A young housekeeper (DuVall) waits expectantly for something extraordinary to happen. And a businessman (Arkin) just can’t seem to get over the fact that his coworker is so damn optimistic. ”I think [mine’s] maybe the most rounded story of the bunch,” says Arkin. ”It just felt like such a Chekhovian character, an obsession over one slightly insane idea that takes over a person’s life completely.”

Shot last December on both sides of the Hudson, ”Conversations” had a tiny budget and a tight schedule. ”It was slightly kamikaze,” says Arkin, who had to shuttle between the movie set and the set of his recently canceled ”100 Centre Street.” ”You don’t have hours and hours to ruminate with the director over long walks [on] how you’re going to play a scene.” Or, for that matter, negotiate a megabucks wage, which he says was ”something in between scale and welfare.” But that’s a whole ‘nother set of conversations.

Thirteen Conversations About One Thing
  • Movie
  • 102 minutes